Water Safety Guide: How to Prevent Your Child from Drowning in a Pool

Drownings can happen in the blink of an eye- in the space of time it takes to grab a towel or send a text message. Very often child drownings happen in pools and places that are familiar to them, such as pools belonging to family and friends. Every year hundreds of children die because of drowning, but a fun day at the pool doesn’t have to end in tragedy.

While SwamCam adds a layer of security and peace of mind, understanding all the factors necessary towards a safe pool environment is crucial. Children love to splash around in a pool on a hot summer day, and safe swimming practices can prevent your child from drowning in a pool. We have therefore created a summary of many other steps you need to take to make your pool environment the safest possible.

We’ll shed some light on the eye-opening statistics around child drownings and what you can do to prevent them.

How to Ensure Pool Safety for Kids

    1. Practice pool safety in every size pool, even wading pools. 

Babies can drown in as little as an inch of water. Monitor small children closely when they’re in or around wading pools. When swim time is over, empty the wading pool completely.

In larger pools, invest in a Coast Guard-approved life jacket until they’ve had swimming lessons and become strong swimmers. Floaties help to keep small children afloat, but they won’t prevent them from drowning.

If small children are in a pool where the water is deep for them, hold them or at least keep them within an arm’s length. For older children who don’t yet know how to swim well, they should also wear a quality life jacket when they’re in or around water. Remember that even wearing flotation devices, children can still drown. Always keep a vigilant eye on children, especially if they can’t swim.

    1. Teach children the guidelines for water safety.

It’s crucial for every child to learn about water safety, even if they don’t swim. Enroll children in swimming lessons at the earliest opportunity. Always make sure there is someone that can swim well who is supervising the pool.

Swim schools and park district programs generally have swimming classes for every age category from infants to older adults. Recreation centers and summer camps are also good places to find swimming classes.

Water safety classes teach children about the types of aquatic problems that can happen and how to overcome them. A water safety class can lead to survival at some point in their lives.

    1. Establish a schedule of water watchers.

It’s critical to supervise children of all ages when they’re playing in or near water. Establish safety protocol around family pools.  Assign someone to be the designated “water watcher” for a period of time. Take turns to ensure that supervising adults stay sharp and alert. The supervising adult should pay constant attention to the children. Insist that they put down their cell phones, books, and other distractions and watch vigilantly even when lifeguards are present. Someone on-site should have a CPR certification in the case of an emergency.

  1. Monitor children around outdoor water sources.

Young children can toddle off and wander away. Supervise them closely to ensure they’re safe around postholes, irrigation ditches, and drainage ditches. Keep buckets of water out of reach of little hands.

If you’re not sure where a child is, check pool areas first.

Here are some valuable tips for pool safety:

  • Install a pool alarm. Our SwamCam pool camera and alarm alerts you wirelessly if your child goes near the pool area without your knowledge by sounding a high-pitched alarm. The device offers 2-way audio communication and gives you rapid, smartphone notification. SwamCam is an essential component of your pool setup because of the high risk of death for children due to drowning. A pool alarm system could be the difference between life and death for your precious children.
  • Put up a fence around in-ground and above-ground swimming pools. Make sure all sides of the pool are protected to separate it from the house and the yard. Be sure the fence doesn’t block the view of the pool from the outside. Fences should be a minimum of four feet tall, and they should be less than 4” off the ground. Add a self-latching lock that opens outward and install it at a height that’s out of small children’s reach. Choose fencing material that’s difficult for children to climb. If the fence has vertical slats, the gaps should be less than 4” apart. A motorized cover for your swimming pool can prevent children from entering the pool without supervision. Squeegee water off the top of the pool cover as needed to prevent drowning even in a few inches of water.
  • When you’re done swimming in your above-ground pool for the day, pick up the pool steps and ladders and lock them up to prevent entry to the pool.
  • After using inflatable pools, empty the water out after each swim time.
  • Gather up pool toys after using the pool to prevent children from falling into the pool when trying to grab them.
  • Pay special attention to drains. Children have had pool accidents when their hair or appendages got caught by the drain’s strong suction. Direct them to play in areas that are away from pool drains. Install specially-designed drain covers or safety vacuum-release systems to prevent injuries from drains. Multiple drains can also help to prevent entrapment by lowering the pressure per drain.

Safe Swimming – Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents

By putting in a little bit of time and effort to learn more about water safety, you can prevent pool accidents and maybe even save a child’s life.

The following tips will keep your children and their friends safe when swimming in pools:

  • Supervise children vigilantly while they’re swimming and playing outside the pool. Close supervision means that you’re not distracted, chatting with friends, or sleeping. Small children that don’t swim or don’t swim well should always be within a short reach of a responsible adult. Drowning happens quickly and there’s not always a lot of noise when it happens.
  • Invest in swimming lessons taught by a professional swim trainer. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that swimming lessons add a layer of protection and that most children can learn to swim beginning at the age of four. Depending on their physical and emotional development, children under the age of four may also be able to learn to swim.
  • Set up a buddy system for children and adults when swimming, and never swim alone. Even the strongest swimmers can have an accident in a pool. If you go to a pool by yourself, make sure a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Make sure there’s at least one person in your group that knows CPR. It can save lives in the event of an accident if paramedics don’t arrive in time to help.
  • Don’t consume alcohol when you’re swimming or anytime you’re enjoying the water or supervising children around the water.
  • Don’t go in the water during a thunderstorm, and get out if it looks like one is looming. Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing thunder or seeing lightning before reentering the water.
  • Inflated rafts and other toys are fun, but they’re not safety devices. You should not rely on them to prevent drowning. If someone needs a flotation device, give them a life jacket.
  • If children feel overheated, exhausted, or dehydrated, leave the pool area and come back another time.

Finally, everyone can benefit by taking swimming lessons, but they’re not a guarantee that someone won’t drown. We can’t emphasize it enough – practice water safety and educate yourself on how to prevent your child from drowning. When a child dies due to drowning, it’s a tragedy that makes it difficult to carry on. You won’t want to be thinking about what you would or should have done to prevent it.

Most pool alarms on the market notify you when a child has already entered the pool. What makes SwamCam the most technologically advanced security device is it detects movement as soon as a child enters the pool area, giving parents or other adults more time to respond. Learn how SwamCam can help give you peace of mind with pool safety.

A Few Statistics On Child Drownings

The statistics related to child drownings are hard to acknowledge. For the parents and friends of children who’ve died by drowning, the reality is even harder to accept. Yet, awareness is one of the keys to preventing child drownings.

The following statistics highlight the need for water and pool safety.

Every year in the United States there are an estimated:

  • As per the Centers for Disease Control there are 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings, including boating-related drowning—that is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.
  • As per the Centers for Disease Control there are 8,080 nonfatal drownings—that is an average of 22 nonfatal drownings per day.
  • Around 350 children across the country drown in pools every year, and they’re generally under the age of five.
  • In the sunny states of California, Florida, and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths for children under five years old.
  • Drowning in children under the age of five is also second in the cause of death, right behind death by car accidents.
  • 2,600 children get rushed to the emergency room every year for near drowning accidents, some of which result in permanent brain damage.
  • Medical costs for children that were submerged underwater for long periods are massive. They range from $2,000 for a child that recovers fully up to $150,000 for children with severe brain damage, especially those who require long hospital stays.
  • 65% of the incidents happened in the family pool and 33% happened in a pool at a family member or friend’s home.

Please explore our website to learn more about the rich array of safety features the SwamCam offers to help you keep your family safe and sound after having lots of fun!!